February 24, 2009

New coach, new attitude for AU receivers

Signing Day has come and gone, but that doesn't mean recruiting has slowed down any for Auburn assistant coach Trooper Taylor.

And it's not just the hottest high school and junior college prospects for the class of 2010 that Taylor is recruiting. There are plenty of players already on campus he's working his magic with.

"It's time to get our guys on board with us," Taylor said. "Everybody cooks their dinner a different way. We can't control what happened in the past, but we can control what happens in the future. We need those guys to buy in. We've set the standards high and the expectations and we want those guys to get on board.

"But in order to do that, you have to build relationships. I can't come in and say I love you and we ain't been through nothing. That's something that's earned and we want those guys to understand that."

Taylor had to start from scratch with his wide receivers. It started shortly after he arrived when he had one of AU's graduate assistants cut a picture of each receiver out of the media guide and paste it on a piece of paper.

The players added their goals to the page and he stayed in touch with them throughout a hectic recruiting process through text messages.

"I went back and read through their goals and put the name with the face along with the jersey number," Taylor explained. "I took a cutup of every play that every kid made and every play that they were in the game and I watched it. All that does is help you evaluate what you have and what you need to recruit and what you don't and that was important.

"But the most important thing was to build those relationships with those guys and that was huge. And for me, I try to include it into a family deal and that's kind of where we start."

Auburn will return seven scholarship receivers and it appears they'll have to adjust to some changes when spring drills get underway Mar. 24

"I've seen those guys on tape, but I can't hold them accountable for something where I didn't coach them," Taylor said. "They're going to find out really quick what my expectations are.

"To me, as a coach, if you tolerate something or you accept something, then you encourage it. I'm not going to tolerate them being late to class. I'm not going to tolerate them not playing hard. I'm not going to tolerate them not making plays. Their uniform will be as clean as mine. They'll be standing right over there right next to me."

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